How do you get your child’s health records after a divorce?
This is a question I get asked quite often. The answer is that both parents have access to their child’s health records–no matter what.
Many parents are surprised by this. One of our readers, Sally, assumed that because she had sole custody of her daughter, her ex-husband had no visitation and Sally pays for all of her daughter’s health costs including insurance that she could exclude her husband from getting a copy of her daughter’s health records. This is almost never the case. Unless one of the parents has lost all parental rights – which is rare – they have a right to their child’s health record.
This is important for you to know since some doctor’s offices get confused about this. They might ask for a copy of the Judgement of Divorce to put in your child’s medical record. No matter what the Judgment of Divorce says about custody, it is very rare that both parents will not have equal access to the records.
It is also important to know that health issues generally must be discussed with both parents. For example, in Michigan, both parents must discuss:
- health issues
- religious issues, and
If you fail to inform your spouse of these issues, you could be in trouble with the courts. Although it may be difficult to discuss, it is important for both parents to be aware of these matters. This is especially true if the parents share custody. The child should never be used as the “go-between” to communicate the issues that are important. Both parents, whenever possible, need to find a way to talk about health issues so the child can receive proper care wherever he or she is. I know from experience that this is often “easier said, than done,” however, everyone should try their hardest to put their children first before themselves.
Tell us whether you have had any problems getting your children’s health records after a divorce? We’d love to hear from you!
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